Seouls defence ministry wants to reboot moribund diplomacy as Red Cross renews attempts to reunite Korean families
South Korea has offered to hold rare military talks with the North to ease tensions after Pyongyangs first intercontinental ballistic missile test earlier this month.
Mondays offer, the first since South Korea elected the moderate Moon Jae-In as president, came as the Red Cross in Seoul proposed a separate meeting to discuss the reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean war.
The Souths defence ministry proposed a meeting on Friday at the border truce village of Panmunjom, while the Red Cross offered to hold talks on 1 August at the same venue.
If the government meeting goes ahead, it will be the first official inter-Korea talks since December 2015. Moons conservative predecessor, Park Geun-Hye, had refused to engage in substantive dialogue with Pyongyang unless the isolated regime made a tangible commitment to denuclearisation.
We make the proposal for a meeting aimed at stopping all hostile activities that escalate military tension along the land border, the defence ministry said in a statement.
The Red Cross said it hoped for a positive response from its counterpart in the North; mooted family reunions in early October would be the first in two years.
Millions of families were separated by the conflict that sealed the division of the peninsula. Many died without getting a chance to see or hear from their families on the other side of the heavily-fortified border, across which all civilian communication is banned.